My Dad and Mom are coming up from Texas today. They’ll spend four days with us. I’m excited to have them here. I guess I’ll have to behave now.
These two are amazing people. Their names are William (Bill) and Audrey. They’ve invested into my life in profound ways. Both taught me a work ethic and raised me in a nurturing safe environment. My Mom made the best farm food in the world, my Dad made all of us boys work our butts off…and we’re all better for it. We had a lot of laughter growing up — and muddled through some really hard times too. Even though we were religious more than really knowing God personally, it gave me both a basis to believe in God and a passion to have more than a form of something. I’m still passionate about finding and living the REAL thing.
Today, my Dad and Mom are some of the most godly people I know. Their faith is so real and alive. Maybe age does that — I don’t know. I do know that I admire them, love them, always look forward to the times I get to be with them, and learn a lot from them still.
“The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.” Psalm 16:6
I’ve been given — and am still BEING given — a godly heritage. What a gift!
I was reminded last night of what a privilege it is to be a pastor. We gathered for, what we call, a Church Chat. With some big changes ahead in how we plan to help people grow up in Christ, we needed to clearly communicate our ideas and plans, as well as carefully listen to the questions, ideas, and feedback. It was an AMAZING night!
What a great Spirit there! What a thrill, when God is in it, to step forward into new things for the glory of God. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Edinbrook people!!!
Here are a few comments shared with me after the evening was finished:
“I came as a skeptic, thinking I may even need to change churches, but I’m so excited by what I’ve heard tonight, I’m going to sing and dance all the way home!”
“I had a lot of reservations before I came this evening, but I am so excited about these new directions were going. Thank you, Pastor!”
“Pastor, you and the church are right on! Cultural research shows that people will not join something unless there is a clear beginning and end date to their commitment. I’m with you 100%!”
I was reminded last night of what a privilege it is to be a pastor…
Snow is everywhere! And some ice too. The beauty outside is obvious. And my whole body aches today as well. That was the heaviest snow I’ve shoveled in–well, 51 years! Thankfully Shane was there to help with the man-sized task.
That’s not all. After clearing our entire driveway yesterday, we moved the vehicles back into their designated spots. All was well…we thought. A couple of hours later, Susan asks this crazy question–“Did you park the van at the bottom of the driveway?”
My first thought was, “Why would you even ask a question like that?” until it registered that the van actually was at the bottom of the driveway! That’s not where we parked it! With all of the icy snow, and even a little rain mixed in later in the day, our van actually took a little journey all on its own! There is was at the bottom of our driveway propped against a large bank of chunky snow we had manufactured. Nothing hurt. But certainly a surprise.
Yes–it is so beautiful out there, but beauty has a price. My body is speaking to me about that today. It’s a reminder that beauty always has a price. True beauty in our lives, too, never comes for free. It takes intentionality, determination, effort, and work.
1 Peter 3 addresses women of the first century: “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.“
The principle here applies to the male gender as well. External beauty (or handsomeness) is very natural to focus on, but the inner stuff is what really matters. And that takes some attention everyday, just like personal hygiene does.
Beauty has a price, whether it is the snow that adorns our yards or the character that inhabits our inner lives. But it’s always worth the price.
Although my body is questioning that truth at the moment…
Singing is magical. We do it to express ourselves, to honor God, and to communally speak to God. We have good singers and bad singers…and some in-between, but God doesn’t care. “Make a joyful noise,” He proclaims.
Singing also makes church life challenging since we all like different sorts.
Is some music more spiritual than others?
Is there a certain style that we should be singing more than others?
How do we “arrange” a worship experience so everyone is happy? Or is that even what it’s about?
I’ve been giving this some thought lately–again. Here’s what I’ve realized as I’ve dug below the surface of my soul — I’m not in pursuit of any certain style, nor am I stuck on something I like (I’ve actually come to like just about everything except screemo). I’ve decided I like new, fresh, current. You see, when I pray, I don’t want to use the same old prayers I’ve used before (I did that when I was a little child). I want to pray what’s on my heart, what I feel, some new expressions of faith, commitment, and thanks to God. I’m certain that this idea of fresh expressions to God greatly pleases Him, too. Scripture clarifies that our ultimate worship before Him some day will involve singing “a new song unto the Lord.”
The important thing is that we keep on singing with fresh fervor for the Lord, to exalt His name, to honor who He is, and to express authentically what we feel about God and His presence among us.
Take in a few thoughts from one of my favorite bloggers, Mark Batterson (get linked up in the side column). “All of creation is singing a unique song to the Creator. And you are part of that universal chorus. No one can worship God FOR you or LIKE you. God has given you a unique voiceprint. There are millions of people praying and worshiping God in every language all the time. But your voiceprint is unique. Like a parent who knows His child’s unique cry or scream or laugh, God knows your voice. He hears your voice. The Heavenly Father loves your voice.”